Blood spatter takes center stage in St. Croix River stabbing trial

Blood spatter evidence was the focus of Wednesday’s testimony in Levi Acre-Kendall’s murder trial.  The blood of stabbing victim Peter Kelly was found in large quantities inside the car belonging to Acre-Kendall’s fishing buddy.

The defense has argued that Acre-Kendall, having brandished a knife following some initial pushing, had retreated and was sitting in the passenger seat, fearing for his life, when Kelly attacked him. But crime lab analyst Nick Stahlke concluded that most of the blood appeared to be more consistent with Acre-Kendall shaking off the spring-loaded knife inside the car after the fight. Though, somewhat curiously, no blood was ever detected on Acre-Kendall’s clothing.

“You can see that there are areas void of blood stains which are disruptions in a continuous pattern which then allows us to determine positions,” Stahlke testified.

Acre-Kendall’s team has argued this was a case of self-defense, with the 20-year old Acre-Kendall ducking into the car, where he’d have the right to use deadly force.

Acre-Kendall’s friend, Jake Mossberg, completed his 3-plus hours of testimony that stretched over 2 days. Mossberg was there as a verbal dispute on the St. Croix River escalated when Kelly and his friend drove across the river. At one point, Mossberg re-enacted the scuffle between Kelly and Acre-Kendall.

Knife in hand, they were allegedly grappling in a shoulder lock moments before the stabbing. Mossberg continued to insist it was Kelly who was the aggressor.

“It was a charge,” Mossberg testified, speaking of Kelly’s approach. “A full-on charge.”